Kenny Saint: From Music to Politics

Kenny Saint
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Kenny Saint
Kenny Saint

Kennis Music Vice President and multiple award-winning gospel act, Kenny Saint Brown has made her intentions known to venture into politics in the 2015 general elections. KSB as she’s fondly called wants to run for a seat in the Lagos State House of Assembly. She recently spoke to Adedayo Showemimo on the reason why she’s embracing politics at this stage and other sundry issues


Let’s talk about you and politics, what influenced your decision to go into it?

I reside in Onigbongbo local government area of Lagos State and for over six years, I’ve been part of the local government in the area of development. Basically in the area of education, development of the public school and upgrading of public schools in Onigbongbo local government under the chairmanship of Hon. Idowu Obasa. So I’ve been a part of it. At the state level, I am the main act at the state children’s Christmas party and I was very active during the 2007 elections that brought in Governor Babatunde Fashola. I’ve always been quite active in the background in politics, but it was last year that I decided that I can do something about changing the face of youth development in Ikeja and Lagos as a whole. Apart from being a youth coach, youth pastor that requires me to see to the development of the youth, I have a yarning and pull towards the street and seeing that every girl that comes out to hustle on the street at night should have a privilege to become a better citizen, and be given the privilege of better productivity in the areas of what they can do to improve their lives apart from prostitution.

What made you feel politics is the way to go to make this kind of change?

Each time I look at it that I’m going into politics, I feel somehow, because of the kind of image politics has in Nigeria, it gives me shivers, I see it more as public service and if I look at it more in the area of seeing to getting people developed, human appreciation, and what I see in my local government, especially the Opebi axis where I reside baffles me. The rise of prostitution has gone up by almost 1000%, it never used to be this bad. Back then, you can count the number of girls you see on one hand, but now especially at that Peka’s junction it seems like a trailer comes to offload them for the night from 7pm. It looks like the street is pulling them more and more all because of money, and what they do depreciates humanity. I think there can be a change, something can be introduced to these girls and let them know that there’s a gift on the inside of them that can improve their personality and make money with their body by working hard without having to dehumanise themselves. So really it’s the area of human productivity that’s really pulling me into public service, and that’s why I need to get on a platform to get the job done and if that platform is called politics, then, maybe, you can call me a politician (laughs).

Coming from your background as an entertainer, do you really think you have what it takes to make any change in politics?

I think what it takes is the passion for change in human beings. It’s like saying why is Pastor Tunde Bakare in politics? Is it that he’s not getting enough money from the pulpit, it is the same call to build humanity, it’s about spreading the good news through government.  Yes, there is a youth ministry, but their attention seems to be more on sports development and we have seen how that has bettered the sports practitioners, especially in football. It’s only in football that you have platforms for under 13, under 15, under 17, Flying Eagles and then Super Eagles. They don’t have such organised platforms for any other area of youth development, we don’t have it for models, fashion or even musicians and actors. The government can’t boast of any support or effort to grow these industries so much so that it’s the effort of these entertainers that has added to the GDP of Nigeria that has made us to have the highest GDP in Africa. Personally, I belong to Kennis Music and 16 years of my life has been dedicated into human development and that is what we still do, but we do not have any structure despite the fact that we can see the potential. The money or loan they said they granted the industry, how many people can come out to say they’ve benefitted.

So somebody needs to come into government to enlighten them and let them know the amount of tax they can generate if the industry is properly structured, that’s why I’m going into the Lagos State government to get this done, for crying out loud, Lagos is the hub of entertainment in Africa, we need to get it right, am not just going there so that government can make money from the people, but most importantly, it’s about youth and human development, because all we see now is wastage and that’s why we had the kind of turn out we had during the recent Immigration recruitment exercise. See the number of lives lost and nothing has been done to the thousands of unemployed youths that were present till now. The best way to curb crime is to create employment and empower the youth otherwise, we’ll continue to have people brainwash them into commiting petty crimes for money.

What if I put it to you that you are going into politics to make money?

Am I broke? Am I poor? I’ve been blessed, because what most people are still praying for and still have on their list of prayer requests I’ve been given. So if it is money that’s driving me, it would kill me because I would see so much money and die. If it’s just money, then I’m not going to be fulfilled.

What’s the take of your brother (Kenny Ogungbe) on your decision to go into politics?

I have a wonderful family, because they know my person and integrity, they know how compassionate I am about people, and they know how many people that have passed through my hands to become superstars. They also know my will power, that if I set my mind to do something, you just need to support and encourage it. They know that I’m a deep person, I must have thought it through and even gotten a go ahead from my pastor because they know I am close to my pastor.  Everyone knows my brother is sold out for youth development, an artiste can betray him today, and he’ll still go ahead to pick up another one, it’s happened over and over again, but we can do it alone, because this talent in entertainment is growing in thousands. So for me it’s not just the politics, it is the service behind it.

Are you leaving music to focus on politics?

I can’t leave music, music is me I am music.

So how would you combine both?

It’s already balanced, music is what I’ve been practicing for over 16 years and while I was doing it I added parenting to it and nothing is more demanding than parenting, and then along the line I added my own personal business to it, so politics is just another job that’s been added to all the things I do and don’t forget I am very involved in church activities too. So politics is not going to take away music from me, and going forward, there’s a new approach towards my music, I’m slowing down but I’m not going out. I’ll be doing softer music, am not doing music anymore such that I can be invited to perform on stage, there are a lot of hands on those kind of, so I have to make a different music that would motivate and inspire people. It’ll be more enjoyable, laid back and soft. So there’s no way being in public office would affect that, afterall, when Donald Duke was governor, he was still doing music.

Do you belong to any political party yet?

Yes, I’m a card-carrying member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and also a delegate here in Onigbongbo local government.

Why APC and not any other party?

Well it’s because APC stands for change, if you want a change would you rather not go to a party that has the track record of bringing about changes? I think it’s a symbiotic relationship, I want to make a change. They also stand for change, so I feel we can work together to bring about the change, and apart from all these, we’ve also seen the change they’ve done in states that they have ruled, Lagos, Osun and Ogun states ate perfect examples, even Ibadan has transformed, it’s been a story of mega and unbelievable change. The intensity of change in infrastructure, transportation and even eradicating bikes (okada) is impressive, so imagine if they channel that same level of intensity of change towards the youth in Lagos State.

Who is your political god-father?

Would you believe that in the little time I’ve spent with my colleagues in APC, I’ve seen that it’s not always so. One of my colleagues who is now a local government chairman surprised Asiwaju when he won the elections without any godfather or knowing anybody, so much that Asiwaju had to call for him to meet him, and now APC is no longer ACN, it’s a much bigger party now, so I am coming in based on the strength and then skills that I have.

In what capacity do you want to serve?

I’ll be going for the Lagos State House of Assembly to be part of the policy makers, because it’s the policy making that influences the executive arm, if there’s no voice from the legislature nothing can be done.

What would be your campaign strategy, why should anybody vote for you?

The records are there, I’ve been the Vice President of Kennis Music for 16 years, and the records of the artistes we have developed, household names we have made are all there, these are undeniable records of how we’ve contributed to youth development and we are still doing it. Youth development is our core calling, and then my relationship with the street is strong, so am a believable candidate with no track record of mismanagement or embezzlement.

What’s your take on the recent Chibok schoolgirls’ abductions?

It’s pathetic, and when you look at the spirit behind it that says you shouldn’t have education, yet you can carry guns, and then you wonder what really is the bone of contention, why should it be girls in school because it’s now getting ridiculous. Initially, we thought it was a religious war, now it’s not a religious war anymore it just seems like sabotage, and it’s just absurd, because it has now gone out of sense. I think it’s a blood thirsty and ignorant spirit that has entered into Nigeria and it can enter into anybody that is broke, so we need prayers.

Given the circumstances he’s found himself, do you think the president is doing enough security wise?

Honestly, I pity the man, I don’t envy him at all, what I have for him is pity. The Nigerian complicated ethnicity makes it difficult for his person to rule us. When Obasanjo was there, he was the president and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, he is a general, so he could call his boys and they would answer, but Jonathan being a civilian and former university lecturer makes it difficult. So I think there’s sabotage, they are not surrendering to his rule and sovereignty, am sorry to say, but it seems there’s not enough cooperation amongst the security chiefs for them to agree to work with him, and a house that is divided against itself cannot stand, so I have great pity for Mr. President.

culled from ThisDay Newspaper

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